Can Tinnitus Be Caused by Stress?
If you have a high level of stress there is a greater possibility that you will be troubled by tinnitus. Tinnitus can be associated with emotional strain and stress. Some studies have provided evidence for a correlation between tinnitus and stress. There are also indications that tinnitus can be induced by stress.
Stress & Tinnitus
My tinnitus increases in volume and duration and occurs much more often when I am in a very stressful situation. I find working long hours and maybe having a problem that is on my mind causes the tinnitus to increase.
If you think about our daily lives we come across thousands of different sounds every day, some of them we have to focus in on because they’re important, for example, the words that a doctor is telling us, the sound of traffic nearby as we cross the road, the mobile telephone ringing with an important message that we have to hear.
But then there are all the different noises that are filtered out in the background which are sort of irrelevant, for example, the ticking of a clock, the humming of a refrigerator, the hum of a computer.
We have to be able to filter out the noises that we don’t really need and concentrate on the noises that we do need.
Personally, if I start to concentrate too much on the tinnitus and I have, then my lifestyle starts to be affected.
If you see your tinnitus as a threat to your personal wellbeing then your attention will focus on it. In such circumstances, you would monitor it, as you would any perceived threat. The process involves not only focusing on tinnitus but also paying less attention to other things. Focusing your attention on tinnitus in this way may lead to the tinnitus seeming to be much louder and much more intrusive.
Thinking about Tinnitus
What do you thinking is very important in the way you feel so pay attention to what sets off your tinnitus and write it down, it is important that you do take a note of it.
We can still continue our lives as normal even though we have this tinnitus noise from time to time or even constantly – by focusing on other things which are more enjoyable of course and talking to friends and family – this takes our mind off the problem of tinnitus.
Living with Tinnitus & Stress
The stress caused by Tinnitus can be as a result of the various symptoms experienced occasionally or frequently. It is even more interesting because others can live with the condition without being stressed while others have such discomforting symptoms that it affects their mental and physical well-being.
To further prove the relation between stress and Tinnitus, in Egypt a study was carried out by students at Minia University. It was observed by the data obtained from the study that only 25 of Tinnitus patients experienced normal stress levels while 75 of them experienced a range of mild to moderate and severe to extreme levels of stress.
This data obtained was such a contrasting result when compared with the 46 patients who suffered from loss of hearing instead of Tinnitus but experienced no stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is caused by undue pressure and demands on the human lifestyle.
Not all stress is bad for us, we need a bit more adrenalin and push in certain situations but prolonged and unnecessary adverse stress is bad for us. Stress is experienced by nearly everyone at various times in their lives. Stress occurs when the demands on us are not matched by our resources, or in other words our biological, psychological, or social capabilities.
Stress can happen when the demands are far too high, such as when you have too much to do. It can also occur when the demands are too low when for example we have too little to keep us busy.
The physical symptoms of undue stress are headaches, dizziness, muscle tension and pain, stomach issues, chest pain, or a faster heartbeat.
On the mental side of things, symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, struggling to make decisions, feeling overwhelmed by life in general, excess worrying, or being forgetful.
Undue stress can affect our behavior, being irritable, snappy, sleeping problems, dietary issues, avoiding certain places or people, consuming more alcohol, or smoking more.
It was also discovered that the severity of Tinnitus was directly proportional to the levels of stress through a study facilitated by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS).
How to Reduce Stress?
Talk to your friends about how you feel and how stress is affecting your life, you may be surprised how many are in a similar situation. Tell your friends or your family how tinnitus is affecting your life and you may be surprised that many other folks also are suffering from tinnitus and they may be able to help you with the methods that they use. If you feel that you really don’t have anybody you can talk to which seems alarmingly more the case as time goes on in this COVID-19 world then there are some online resources and people that you can telephone who you are not your friends or family and who will be willing to speak to you.
Get some exercise. The body releases hormones which are good for you, the heart starts pumping and the physical effects are excellent. Even a brisk walk is a great idea if done regularly.
Try writing a list of all the things you have to do today, right now! It will take the pressure off your mind and onto the paper – cross out each item as you complete the item – a great stress-relieving exercise.
Even a little exercise can relieve stress on the body, it takes your mind off any problems that you have, if you are going for a walk you may bump into people with pets, a dog for example. If you don’t have your own pet you will probably find that most people will happily talk about the furry friend that they have to take for a walk twice a day. I’m sure you will agree that animals which are friendly have a great effect on alleviating stress on the body and this is a double whammy for you as you’re getting some exercise at the same time.
Get a Pet?
Could you get a cat or a dog as a companion in your present situation? There have been many studies that show that a feline or canine companion can reduce stress and dust reduce your tinnitus. Having a pet reduces your blood pressure levels make you feel less lonely increases the feelings of being in a social situation and makes you get into a better mood.
Use breathing techniques to reduce your stress levels. Take deep breaths in and slowly breathe out to start with. You can do this standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or a mat on the floor. Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing. Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again if you find this helpful. Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Does Tinnitus Get Worse?
The role of stress in the inception, etiology, and progression of Tinnitus is however not clear cut but it is an unwavering fact that it is a major factor that worsens the condition. Based on research carried out by S. Herbert, tinnitus was reported to have begun during a stressful time frame in about 53.6 of the individuals while the condition worsened during stressful periods in 52.8 of the individuals.
A link has also been suggested between the serotonergic system of the brain and Tinnitus. Hence, research is being made into the effects of this system on Tinnitus and the emotional response to Tinnitus.